College: Texas Christian
Hometown: Katy, TX
When doing player previews, you know that some guys are going to spark more conversation than others. This is probably the case for the Bengals signal-caller, Andy Dalton. When looking from the outside, Dalton gives you everything you want to see in a quarterback. He has a solid win loss record of 30-18.
Dalton set franchise records last season in passing yards (4293) and passing touchdowns (33). He was a pro-bowler after his rookie season and his numbers have improved every year. Dalton could join Joe Flacco as the only two quarterbacks in the Super Bowl era to lead their teams to the playoffs in their first 4 seasons.
Then there is the negatives. This is the side that is debated on TV, radio, the Internet and water coolers everywhere. Dalton has failed to win a playoff game for this team and in trying has looked pretty bad. Dalton had 20 interceptions last season and some critical miscues in the bigger games of the season.
As this is a player preview and not a roast or defense of the young quarterback, I will switch to what we might be able to expect out of Andy this season.
Early in the offseason, Dalton spent time with quarterback guru Tom House. A guy that is well known around the league as the person that can help quarterbacks take that next step. In the past House has worked with Tom Brady, Drew Brees and Carson Palmer. In their 5 days of work, House and Dalton worked on this throwing motion. More particularly in his focus and working the ball towards the target. This work and minor tweaks were done to improve his accuracy.
His counterparts on the field have noticed. Both Mohamed Sanu and Marvin Jones spent time with Dalton in the offseason working on their games.
"Best I've seen him," Sanu said. "He's put a lot of work in the offseason, just seeing how he approaches it ... it's on you fast. You turn around and you're like, 'whoa.'"
"He's got a lot of zing, a lot of velocity to him," Jones said. "Especially when it matches the intensity with the way we run our routes. We run our plays in different periods and it just brings everybody up, him included. He's spinning the ball real nice."
Part of what is going to affect Dalton's game the most this season is the new offense architect ed by Hue Jackson. The popular belief is that the Bengals are going to roll out a new running attack. This is going to allow the offense to dictate the game and take a lot of the burden off of Andy Dalton.
No one thinks that Dalton should be throwing the ball 51 times in a game like he did against the Chargers in the playoffs. With Jackson calling the plays he is going to rely on Dalton to make the throws he is comfortable with and allow the offense to bring a more balanced attack.
This probably means Dalton's numbers are going to go down. His yards and even touchdowns may not touch what he did last season. It also means we won't see the interceptions or the pressing Dalton felt he needed to do at times last season.
We may see the best play from Dalton this season compared to what he has done in the last 3. While his numbers may not top what he has done in the past, his accuracy and decision making should improve. If this is the case, the offense becomes more efficient and the Bengals may find themselves an even better, more rounded team.